UTI, Tom Dent Cabin are highlights of SA's term
Dartmouth's Student Assembly enjoyed an unusually active and productive fall and is poised to follow up its accomplishments Winter term, according to Student Body President Molly Stutzman '02.
Fall highlights included the passage of the Undergraduate Teaching Initiative, the acquisition of Tom Dent Cabin for free student use and the biannual meeting of the Ivy Council, which convened at Brown University just over a week ago.
Fall is typically "when it's hardest to get things going," Stutzman said, noting that the term often serves as a time for Assembly members -- particularly freshmen -- to find their roles and determine their interests within the organization.
This term, however, there was little delay in addressing important issues.
"A lot of '05s have really stepped up in a lot of areas," Stutzman said of the term's work. "When you look at this term, you can see a lot has happened already."
The Undergraduate Teaching Initiative, which was written by Aly Rahim '02, was passed in principle on Oct. 16, and since then the Assembly has begun to pursue specific components of the plan.
Dedicated to improving and supporting undergraduate teaching at the College, the UTI proposes annual assessments of departmental commitment to undergraduate teaching, in addition to grants given to support innovative teaching methods and the creation of an undergraduate teaching center at the College.
The UTI recently suffered a setback when the Committee of Associate Deans declined to provide Student Assembly with the number of majors in each department, information critical to the implementation of departmental assessments, according to Rahim.
On Nov. 6, the Assembly allocated $3,000 toward the creation of four teaching grants, hoping that the action would prompt the College to respond with a much larger contribution of its own for the same purpose.
Also achieved this term was the acquisition of Tom Dent Cabin, formerly owned and operated by the Athletic Department. The cabin, which can be reserved through Student Assembly, is currently offered to students for use free of charge and has been in use "almost every single day," according to Stutzman.
In a term that was overshadowed by the events of Sept. 11, the Assembly organized a candlelight vigil early on in the term for all those affected by the attacks. Additionally, $1,000 was allocated towards the higher education of those children who lost parents in the attacks.
Dartmouth also sent the greatest number of delegates of any of the Ivy League schools in attendance at last weeks' Ivy Council conference, which brought together student leaders from seven of the eight Ivy League institutions.
"Dartmouth has been the backbone of Ivy Council for many years," said Stutzman, who noted that Dartmouth has the largest student government of any Ivy school, despite its small size.
"We have about 60 voting members, which is a great sign," Stutzman said, "and it shows that there is a large amount of student interest" in the Assembly.
Other achievements during the term included the appointment of Stutzman to head the Undergraduate Finance Committee, the organization charged with allocating funds to eight major campus organizations and the publication of Mugshots and the new Dining Guide by the Student Services Committee.
Stutzman hoped that Winter term would follow up on the Fall term's accomplishments.
In addition to the continuing implementation of the UTI, Stutzman mentioned the creation of additional rehearsal spaces for campus theater, a capella and dance groups, which have struggled to find such spaces in the past.
"We have talked specifically with SHEBA," Stutzman said, "but there are 10 or more groups that feel there is a space crunch."
Another issue concerns the possible implementation of portable alarm devices, which when activated would allow Safety and Security to pinpoint a student's location, without the need for the student to locate a blue light alarm.
Though Stutzman was strongly positive about the term, she stressed that there is always room for improvement: "[We're] trying to engage more students, trying to work more effectively with other organizations," she said. "In that sense we're always trying to improve what we do."
The Assembly holds its final meeting a week from Tuesday, when it will appoint interim members to fill in for Secretary Steve Zyck '04 and Student Services Chair John Apostolides '03, both of whom are off campus Winter term.